A Round-up of Argyle News
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Greens on Screen's Daily Diary is a compilation of Argyle news, with help from these and other Argyle-related sites.
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Also included on the three most recent days, facts from Argyle's history.
Carl Fletcher thinks his side threw away three points by failing to take their chances at Macclesfield last night. "Overall the performance was really good but we got punished for not taking our chances," he said. "I'm just disappointed that we didn't get the three points when I felt we deserved it. On another day if we'd have taken our chances we could have come away with a comfortable 2-0 victory. The last kick of the game is always a kick in the teeth, it's just disappointing how it turned out really when we seemed to comfortably see the game out." Fletcher was unhappy with the fact that the goal was scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time, despite four minutes being shown by the fourth official. "It's referees. You can argue all the time, he put four minutes up and played five," he added.
Argyle drew 1-1 at Macclesfield Town, the goal scored by Conor Hourihane after 71 minutes. Argyle: Cole, Bignot, Purse, Blanchard, Williams, Young, Wotton, Hourihane, Daley, MacDonald, Chadwick. Subs Walton, Hemmings (not used Larrieu, Berry, Tsoumou). Attendance - 1,888.
Alex MacDonald is pleased his loan stay at Home Park looks set to be extended. He said: "I'm delighted. I've come down and played pretty much every game and I'm enjoying my time down here. I'm not sure how long the loan is going to be for yet, but I think it might take me until the end of the season. It's a good club which shouldn't be where it is, but it is there and I'm going to try to be a part of getting the club back to where it should be." MacDonald was impressed with the Home Park attendance at Saturday's draw with Dagenham & Redbridge, and thought the team were unlucky not to win. He said: "The fans were magnificent. To get nearly 8,000 is pretty amazing. We created the chances in the first half and we dominated. We can't keep saying that we were unlucky, there's only so many times you can say that. I don't think we were too nervous and I thought we did well. They never looked like scoring and if there was one team which was going to win the game, then that one team was going to be us. We put in a good performance so we have got to take every positive out of the game and take it on into tonight against Macclesfield. If we were losing games like Dagenham by two or three goals, then that's the time to take a look at things. But I think we're going in the right direction, although we need to start taking our chances and maybe getting a bit of Lady Luck."
Warren Feeney has been withdrawn from the Northern Ireland squad because of a calf injury and Carl Fletcher is uncertain when he will be fit again. Fletcher said: "He only came back to training last week and he's only trained for a couple of days, so he's not match fit. We didn't want him going away with Northern Ireland and suddenly having a recurrence of the injury. It's better if we can keep him here and keep an eye on him. Even when he's injured, he's a big influence in the dressing room, so it's good to have him around the whole club." Onismor Bhasera will not play at Macclesfield as he is on international duty with Zimbabwe, although Fletcher thinks it could be a good thing for the player. He said: "We've known about it for a long time. He's been out for a long time with injury and he's come back and played a lot of games for us, so for him, mentally and physically, it might be a good thing for him to go back home and see his family as well. Sometimes you need a little break, maybe mentally more than anything, just to recharge the batteries. As I say, we knew all about it and Willo came in and did well on Saturday." Fletcher is expecting a tough game tonight, and added: "We know it's going to be a real tough game. Macclesfield got a good point at Oxford at the weekend and we have got to make sure we're a 100 per cent ready to go. We have got a long journey up there, but we're looking forward to it. Macclesfield have had a horrendous time with injuries, but we have to go there and make sure we are ready and prepared right and do what we need to do. We're going into it with three clean sheets, so we have to take those positives on board and try and keep the confidence going."
Carl Fletcher believes that Joe Mason's success can act as an incentive to current and future Argyle youngsters. Mason scored Cardiff City's opener in the Carling Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley, and Fletcher said: "Mase is a real good player and he's got a real good future in the game. It's great to see him getting his rewards because he's a nice lad as well. That's pleasing. Where we are as a club is that we've got some good youngsters and we want to bring them through. We have never had a problem throwing youngsters in if we thought they were good enough and they needed to play. We would like to keep them here even longer than we did Mase, so that we get the rewards here at Home Park for the youngsters we are bringing through. There are definitely opportunities for youngsters being at this football club, and that's what we want. Fans love it and we love it. You can't argue with it."
Carl Fletcher was pleased with Argyle's third consecutive clean sheet, but conceded that his team could have won by three goals. He said: "We knew it was going to be scrappy, we spoke all week about it and that we were going to have to earn the right to play. We had to scrap away. It was going to be an ugly game and it was going to be fighting, second balls and trying to win your headers. We were aware of what was coming and we knew we had to be patient. To be fair, the lads have done everything but score a goal. We had three great chances in the first half and hit the post twice in the second half and their keeper pulled off a couple of saves. In terms of everything, we didn't get a goal, which I think we deserved and if we'd taken our chances, we would have gone on and won the game. All the lads worked hard and we got another clean sheet, so that's a real positive. The lads worked so hard and, as I said, if we'd taken our chances we might be sitting here with three points." Fletcher, reflecting on Argyle twice hitting the post in the second half, said: "That kind of sums it up, really. We thought it was a bit flat in the second half, so we made a few changes and it perked us up a little bit." On Romain Larrieu's booking for throwing the ball back into play before it had gone out, Fletcher said: "The multi-ball system's gone out and you try to keep the game going to build a bit of momentum. You're only allowed to use one ball, so we try to get the ball back as quickly as possible and I think Ro, in his eagerness, kind of didn't let it go out of play."
Carl Fletcher is warning his side to expect another scrappy game when they visit Macclesfield Town tomorrow. He said: "We didn't lose against Dagenham and that was a big one for us. We go into every game trying to win, so we will go there and do what we need to do and try to work hard and try and get the break. It's a long way up to Macclesfield, but everyone's looking forward to the challenge. We have to recover right now and do what we need to do to give ourselves the best opportunity." Robbie Williams was called into the starting line-up against Dagenham & Redbridge in the absence of Onismor Bhasera, and Fletcher added: "He's worked hard and he's come in today and done well. You always know with Willo when he's on the ball, he's got quality."
Argyle kept their third clean sheet in succession on Saturday, which was pleasing for the team despite only managing a draw against Dagenham & Redbridge. Darren Purse said: "We've deserved more clean sheets over the time I've been at the club so far. We've defended really well. To get three on the trot says that the hard work we put in on the training ground is coming to fruition. If we can keep doing that I'm sure the lads will bang the goals in at the other end. At the moment we're working really hard on the training field, working on clearances and putting our bodies on the line. It's coming to fruition with three clean sheets on the trot, but the hard work is still to do. We've done well so far but we need to keep on our toes." Purse insisted that it isn't just about the defenders and the goalkeeper. He added: "It's not just us, the back four, that do that. The rest of the lads work really hard in front of us to prevent giving them the space and the opportunity to get at us. Clean sheets are about the team, rather than just the back four. If you look at the back four now compare to at the start of season, it's probably four different players. You can't just turn up and all of a sudden all four players click. Willo has come in, he's been out for a while and done superb. I thought both full backs were superb today." Purse insists the struggle for survival is about being patient and taking each game as it comes. He said: "You're not going to go out and win every game 4-0. They came out with a game plan, worked really hard, and probably deserved their clean sheet. If you look at the chances we created; we had three or four great chances in the first half, hit the post twice. Sometimes you get games like that. You'll probably find we had more chances today, more efforts on goal than we did at Accrington, and we haven't scored. That's the way football goes. It's about not being disappointed with it, and moving on. We've got a massive game at Macclesfield on Tuesday. There's going to be loads of ups and downs from now until the end of the season. It's about not panicking, just picking up results as we go."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Dagenham & Redbridge at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Bignot, Purse, Blanchard, Williams, Young, Wotton, Hourihane, Hemmings, MacDonald, Chadwick. Subs Tsoumou, Daley (not used Larrieu, Berry, Walton). Attendance - 7,804.
Conor Hourihane has admitted he has put some more steel into his game since joining Argyle. He said: "I've had to add that, because especially in League Two, some of the games you have to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in and get involved. Obviously, I look to get on the ball and pass it, but although it might not be the nicest to watch, you have to get stuck in and do a job for the team." Hourihane has received a lot of help from Paul Wotton, his partner in the centre of the midfield last weekend. "Paul's so experienced," he said. "He shouts and roars and gets in your face, but that's a good thing. He gets you wired in and he gets you focused. Having a lad like that next to you, with him having played so many games and being so experienced, you fully trust him. Whatever he shouts out, you listen to him and I trust his shouts." Hourihane said his targets with the club included getting Argyle back into League One and, if possible, the Championship. "Obviously, first and foremost we have to stay up," he said. "I'm confident we can stay up, because we have a run of games coming up where we can get points from. A 4-0 win last weekend was terrific for all of us. I thought I did alright, but, really, it was that the team put in a good performance and got the result in the end, it was a great three points, a massive three points. We played well. On our day, we are a match for any team. I think everybody's looking to push up the table next year, and try to get back into League One and perhaps even the Championship and try to get this club back to where it belongs. But for the near future, we have to stay up and look to push on next year."
Romain Larrieu insists he won't be mixing business with pleasure today. He will be on the sidelines as Argyle take on Dagenham and Redbridge this afternoon and is then hosting a charity event after the game to mark his testimonial. He said: "Obviously, it's a big day, because we're playing Dagenham & Redbridge and once that's done, then we've got the charity event. But the most important thing is to get the game right and that's what we're trying to do. Then we'll celebrate the 10 years and it will be nicer to celebrate with a win. The two things are different, in my eyes. I'll be thinking about it after the game's done, something which makes my committee cringe. They've been brilliant at organising everything for me and I've left them to it." Larrieu said he appreciated all the support he had received. He said: "There's a few tickets left, but people have been brilliant, to be fair. It's not exactly the financial climate to party and spend money and the committee and I fully understand that. We've sold quite a lot of tickets and we have some left, if people want to come, but loads of people have responded and I want to thank them all." Larrieu is not expected to keep his place in the team today, with Jake Cole set to return after missing the game against Accrington Stanley. Larrieu said: "It was unexpected, but playing is the most enjoyable thing you can do, so I was enjoying it. But I have another job now and it's impossible to do both. I was delighted to keep a clean sheet, that made me very happy for the boys, because you don't want to let them down. We haven't turned the corner yet, but the results have picked up and we need to carry on. I just wanted to help in the best way, by doing as well as Jake does when he's in the team."
Plans are being drawn up to build Argyle a new 'state-of-the-art' grandstand as the centrepiece of a multi-million-pound development in Central Park. James Brent has begun assembling a team of consultants, architects and design specialists, according to reports. His plans could see the area around Home Park transformed into a sports and leisure attraction, in what would be a major economic boost for the city, and Brent said: "We would like to press forward sooner rather than later. What we'd love to see is a high-quality sporting and leisure area that is a real draw for people, not just in Plymouth but in the wider region and among visitors. This is not about cannibalising what is already in the city, it's about creating a destination that can really draw tourism into the city. Clearly a key part of the proposed development is completing the stadium by putting in a high-quality state-of-the-art grandstand. Having a new grandstand will endow the club with a quality facility that offers a comfortable experience for supporters as well as a source of income for the club. It's about, rather than treating the football fan like a captive audience, creating a real hospitality event so that people want to spend their Saturday at Home Park, and as a family." Brent declined to reveal the details of his vision for the area, but said: "My thought is that the Central Park Area Action Plan makes a lot of sense. The Life Centre is a stunning facility and, if the grandstand was modernised, it could be quite special. We genuinely did virtually no work on any plans at all before completing the acquisition, so we have had to begin from a standing start. We're now looking very seriously at what we can to at Home Park, and we have engaged consultants to help. We think we can create something that is not just good but exceptional. We believe we have something which, once the plans have been developed, is a viable scheme even in the current economic conditions and we want to further it as quickly as we sensibly can. If we get it right, it could really lift spirits and get some self-belief back into the city. We want to give Plymouth something to be proud of. Most importantly, people want to see a successful and winning team."
Darren Purse insists Argyle can beat relegation rivals Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow, but it won't be the end of the world if they draw. He said: "Everyone sees it as a must-win game, but I don't see it as a must-win game. As long as we don't get beaten, then it keeps Dagenham behind us and with the goal difference we've got, that's an extra point you need. Obviously, a win will put an even bigger gap between us, but I think not getting beaten at this stage of the season and keeping an unbeaten run going is vital. It's a massive game. We're going to need the support of the fans, they can be our 12th man and we're going to need that. If we can keep the game, not low key, but if we can keep it so we don't put too much pressure on this one game because we've still got 15 games left to go. They're all as big as this one, they're all cup finals for us. Obviously, with this one being Dagenham, it puts a little extra edge on it." Purse believes, on current form, Argyle could beat Dagenham & Redbridge. He said: "If you look at our last dozen games, we've shown decent form and we just need to continue that. The confidence among the lads, even when I joined the football club after the Stourbridge game, the lads were still confident. There was still that belief that we were going to get out of the situation we were in. Obviously, from that last dozen games, we've proved that with the form we've been on." Purse said he didn't feel any more pressure because he was playing at home in front of the Argyle fans. He added: "I like playing in front of the Argyle fans. We've only lost once there since I've been here and that was against Torquay. We want to make this place a fortress."
Carl Fletcher has appealed for fans to turn out in force for tomorrow's important game with Dagenham & Redbridge. He said: "We know it's going to be a really tough game tomorrow. Both teams are fighting for their lives, it's probably going to be wet and windy, and it may be a scrappy game with bodies on the line in tin hats. We know it's going to be one of those days, so we've got to stick in there and fight for everything." Fletcher was full of praise for Argyle's fans, and pointed out that their support could be pivotal tomorrow. He said: "The fans have been great for us and they've been so good, especially when games aren't going so well for us. Football's a 90-minute game and you aren't going to win it in the first 10 minutes, so they are a massive part of what we are trying to achieve here. They've got a massive role to play tomorrow and hopefully they're going to come out in their numbers and stick behind the lads, like they've done in the past when it's not going great. It may be a little sticky situation in the game, or a five to 10-minute period you get in any game. If they can stick behind us and keep behind us, as they have done this season, it really benefits everyone on the pitch."
Jake Cole has made a dramatic recovery from the arm injury which kept him out of last Saturday's win at Accrington Stanley and looks set to face Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow. Carl Fletcher said: "We had some trouble with him last week, when we had it scanned and got the results. But he's fit, and he trained properly yesterday and he will play, if he is picked." Joe Lennox is still out of contention because of illness. He was kept away from the ground last week to reduce the chance of the other players being affected and Fletcher made it clear he would not be brought back until he was ready. He said: "Joe's been out for a couple of weeks with illness and he's probably not right yet." Warren Feeney should, however, be fit for tomorrow's game. He has been out for several matches with a calf injury sustained in training but Fletcher said: "He's fit. He wanted to come up with the team last week and his first day's training was on Tuesday."
Argyle are trying to extend Alex MacDonald's loan stay at Home Park. Carl Fletcher said: "We've spoken to Eddie Howe and to Macca, although I don't think it will be done this week, with the paperwork which has to done. It will probably be done next week."
Argyle fan Sue Pollard, who helped raise thousands to keep the club afloat, has been shortlisted for the Football League's Fan of the Year Award. Sue has already been declared the League Two Fan of the Year and will go up against finalists representing clubs in the Championship and League One at the 2012 Football League Awards in London on March 11. She said: "It's an unbelievable feeling to be recognised for my efforts in such a way. The survival of Plymouth Argyle was at the heart of everyone connected to our club and I'm just pleased I was able to make some sort of contribution towards aiding this along to a successful outcome. In my eyes, it's thanks to the efforts of everyone that I still have a club to go to, to be able to support my team. Plymouth without a football club was simply just not right." James Brent paid tribute to Sue, saying: "Before stumbling across PAFC, I had no idea about football or the passion that it generated. Seeing the reaction of the staff and fans to Argyle's plight has been a humbling experience. Our fans would not let their club die and, for many, they could not do enough to support our staff, who made incredible sacrifices. It is difficult to single out just one person from the hundreds who contributed. Sue, however, personified the efforts. She worked selflessly to raise money for and support our staff without any ambition for recognition. She suffered the lows with a smile and embraced the highs with good humour." Carl Fletcher was equally enthusiastic in his support. He said: "Sue personified the spirit of the club and of the community in extremely hard times. The players and the staff are grateful beyond measure for what Sue did for us, and the city of Plymouth should not be able to thank her enough for playing a massive part in saving our football club."
Ollie Chenoweth will remain with Truro City until the end of the season after his loan spell was extended. However, he can be recalled at 24 hours notice.
The Green Taverners released a statement today, saying: "After serious consideration by Green Taverners, we have decided that taking a seat on the Green Army Supervisory Board would not be in the interest of either the Green Taverners or Plymouth Argyle. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to have a seat on the GASB. However, with all the commitments we have to the staff, football club and community, we don't believe we would be able to give the Board the level of attention it deserves. We would like to thank James Brent for the offer and wish the GASB every success in the future." Mark Russell, of the Taverners, said: "We have, over the last year, worked with James Brent on many activities at Home Park and the relationship is very strong. However we don't believe we would be able to add as much as we would like by joining the GASB. We have many commitments over the next 12 months with both the football club and the local community that we would struggle to have the time to add the correct amount of attention to the GASB that it deserves. Thank you to James Brent for the offer and may I wish the GASB a great success. They are always welcome to work with the Green Taverners if they feel they would like any assistance from us. Good luck!" James Brent said: "The Green Taverners played an important part in saving the club and continue to have a key role both in supporting the Club and contributing to the fun environment that is Home Park. I respect their decision in relation to GASB and look forward to working with them going forward."
Carl Fletcher has revealed why he is reluctant to include his name on the Argyle team-sheet at the moment. He said: "In terms of the squad we've got, we're pretty strong. I find it easier to be off the pitch. If you're player-manager, you are trying to focus on two things. There is so much pressure being a player and there is so much being a manager that it's hard to do both, and it's going to make me grumpier than I usually am. But if we feel the need, then we'll do it." When asked if he would play again this season, Fletcher added: "I don't know. I get out of breath playing with the kids at home and don't know if I'd last 90 minutes!
Argyle beat Elburton Villa 3-2 in the Devon St Luke's Bowl quarter-final at Home Park last night, the goal scored by Luke Daley (2) and Isaac Vassell. Argyle will now face Tiverton Town in the semi-final. Argyle: Walton.C, Berry, Nelson, Richards, Williams, Soukouna, Copp, Daley, Vassell, Sims, Lecointe. Subs Bradley, Harper-Penman, Harvey (not used - Berry, Elcock).
Jake Cole is likely to be out of the Argyle starting line-up for the next two weeks after sustaining an arm injury in training last week, according to reports.
James Brent wants to invest in Argyle's infrastructure to help it become a viable business in the future. He wants to redevelop the club's main grandstand with conference facilities and said: "The legacy for the club is to build a new grandstand that isn't just a grandstand but has facilities in there that will generate an income. We'd like to see the club endowed with assets that will create a cash flow that will compliment the football cash flows. It may very well be that the club has the potential to get into the Premiership. One of the dangers of a sugar-daddy dependency is that clearly when the sugar-daddy dies or when the sugar-daddy loses his sugar, you've suddenly got an event that creates a life-threatening event for the football club. If you create a cash flow that attaches to the football club then that continues regardless of it." Although he admits that Argyle's wage bill is high by League Two standards, Brent remains hopeful that the club will be able to bring it in check come the summer. He added: "We have a player wage bill at the moment which is towards the top end of League Two clubs and is higher than a number of League One clubs. The issue that we face is that some of those wages are allocated to players who aren't even with us any more, but the good news is that most of that comes off at the end of the season so that frees up further resources. But the player budget we have, there's nothing wrong with that to take this club safely into League One." Brent is impressed by how Torquay United have fared this season, and said: "They've achieved the top of League Two with a budget that's a fraction of ours and they've achieved that with good management both at a football level and the club level. We've got to do the same, but to a larger scale." Brent's aspirations do not stop at taking the club out of League Two. He feels that the club can get back into the Championship, and perhaps even push on to the Premier League. He said: "If Torquay can get to the top of League Two with the fan base that it has, and to do that in a financially sound and measured fashion, to say that Argyle, with a fan base that's probably three or four times the size, can't get to the top of League One and through to the Championship without going bust defies belief. If you get into the Championship there's a massive financial step up into the Premier League. It may very well be that the club has the potential to get into the Premier League and we're not the right owners to do that, if there's a better owner that can lead the aspirations of the club to get into the Premier League we'd respect that and pass the baton"
Nick Chadwick has not ruled out staying at Home Park for the rest of his career, but revealed, from a family point of view, it had been a difficult decision to move back down to Devon. "It was probably a more difficult decision than a lot of people realise," he said. "My wife had to leave her job, and it was a good job, and we've moved a seven-month-old away from the family and the childcare and everything else that goes with it, so while it wasn't a difficult decision in some respects, in others it obviously was. Hopefully, I'll be staying here. I'm 29 and I've never hidden behind the fact that, when I went back to the North West, that's the place I thought I'd probably end up, but to come back down here has been great. As I say, I'm 29 and hopefully I'll end up staying here, but I have got to be successful and the club has got to be successful. I have got to make sure that I am doing well enough to stay at the football club and if that's the case, then I am sure I will be here for a few years yet."
Argyle play Elburton Villa tonight in the quarter-finals of the Devon St Luke's Bowl. The game is at Home Park, at 7pm, as Elburton's Haye Road ground does not have floodlights.
Saturday did not start well for Carl Fletcher, but ended on a very high note. Fletcher had to make a switch in goal after an injury to Jake Cole, then the team bus broke down just before Argyle were due to set off for the match with Accrington Stanley. He said: "The coach wouldn't start in the morning and there was a lot of stuff going wrong for us." Fletcher had his worries eased though, as Argyle beat Stanley 4-0. He said: "I was pleased with everyone, they all did their job. Going in at half-time 2-0 up, it's a dangerous scoreline, because anything can happen and we knew Accrington Stanley were going to come back at us, but the lads stuck to the task. We knew they have some players who can pass the ball around and we weren't 100 per cent sure who they would put out, because they have a new manager. You could see the lads wanted a clean sheet from the game and I was pleased with that. Any away win is hard to come by and we knew Accrington Stanley were going to be tough. Everyone stuck to the game plan, so it's very pleasing. I think it probably is our best performance of the season, we were solid at the back and we scored goals, but as I said, there's always things you can improve on and go back to work, keep our fingers crossed and keep working at it." A training accident struck down Cole and he went for a scan late last week, although it is uncertain how long he will be out. Fletcher wouldn't be drawn on who would replace Larrieu in goal in the event of another emergency, saying only: "Jake got a knock in training on Thursday and had a scan yesterday, so it was touch and go, but the scan said he'd be out for a few weeks. We'll assess it more next week and know for definite."
Nick Chadwick has paid tribute to Paul Wotton after the Argyle captain became only the sixth player to make 400 league appearances for the club. He said: "He's good for the dressing-room and his leadership is second to none. His attributes and what he brings to the team are of great benefit and I thought he was the type of player we needed, irrespective of whether it was him or not. With it being him, that helps matters tenfold because no-one can deny what he's done for this club. So what he'll bring to the cause from now until the end of the season will be invaluable."
Carl Fletcher usually likes to keep things close, but he has spoken candidly about the strains of being manager of a club fighting for its life. "It's tough," he said. "There is so much pressure. You get managers of big clubs saying about all the pressure they are under, when you are at the bottom of League 2 and there's a danger of going out of the league...there is no bigger pressure than that. It's really hard. For all the management, the players and everyone involved. Not only them, but for their families, as well. It affects everything you do. So you have got to enjoy the good times." His comments came in the wake of the 4-0 win at Accrington Stanley and he added: "Without all the support of everyone who works at Plymouth, and everyone's families, we wouldn't be able to get results, so I am pleased for everyone involved. We love it. We just want to do well. We work so hard each and every day to do well for the club, and we'll keep doing that. That's why everyone in the changing-room and everyone involved with the club have got to be pushing in the right direction, and we're there. The spirit in the dressing-room - we've got some young lads, some older lads and some great characters in there. When you get days like today, it's a great place to be."
Warren Feeney has been called up by Northern Ireland for their friendly against Norway on February 29th, which means he will not be available for the re-arranged game with Macclesfield the previous day.
Alex MacDonald bounced back from his miss against Barnet to set Argyle on their way to a 4-0 win at Accrington Stanley. Having missed the potential match-winner last Tuesday, he scored twice yesterday, and said: "As soon as that was missed, that game was over. I didn't dwell on it; I didn't think about it. I had two chances and scored two goals. If you let things get to you too much, you will think about things too much when you are going through on goal. It's not going to help you in a positive way. I thought we did well from start to finish. We had a game-plan and we stuck to it very well, and luckily enough, we got a result." MacDonald intends to run himself into the ground in search of more goals but does not intend to be doing at Home Park for too long. He said: "No-one should ever question your work-rate and how you go about it. I see it as a given. It should be in your make-up. If I get to five goals while I am here, I will be made up, but I'll take each game as it comes. The most important thing is keeping the club up. The whole point of me coming out was to get games, not just to benefit myself but to go back to Burnley a better player. That's where I see my future. That's where I want to be playing, week in week out. It was good to get back up here and breathe in the Lancashire air."
Carl Fletcher praised Alex MacDonald after he led Argyle to a 4-0 win at Accrington Stanley. "I am delighted for Macca. He has come here, settled in and got three goals in three games now," he said. "You can see his work-rate on and off the ball and he has done really well for the team. We came here with a game plan and we stuck with it. We knew it wouldn't be the prettiest of games. Even at 2-0 at half-time, I couldn't rest as it's a dangerous score so I was delighted to get the third and then Luke has finished it off. We have a good group of players here, some real characters and they will fight for each other and showed that. But we won't rest on our laurels now. We have got to carry on doing the right things. You have highs and lows at a football club and we have got to enjoy this high but continue to work hard. We have got a big game at home next weekend, so we'll enjoy it tonight and it's back to work next week." That game is against fellow strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge, and Fletcher is in no mood for complacency. He added: "We'll be looking forward to it, because it's at home and we know we have put in the same effort and commitment. We know it's going to be a tough game and we have got to be right on it. Today, we were solid, we scored goals, and we kept a clean sheet, but there are always things you can improve on, so we won't get carried away with it, we'll go back to work on Monday and get on with it."
The Argyle youth team won 3-0 at Yeovil Town yesterday, the goals scored by Jed Harper-Penman, Tyler Harvey and Jared Sims. Argyle: Walton, Watson, Bradley, Richards, Pearce, Harper-Penman, Berry, Copp, Vassell, Harvey, Sims. Subs Summers, Elcock, Wheatley (not used - Bentley, Allen).
Argyle won 4-0 at Accrington Stanley, the goals scored by Alex MacDonald after 3 and 24 minutes, Darren Purse (72) and Luke Daley (90). Argyle: Larrieu, Bignot, Purse, Blanchard, Bhasera, Young, Wotton, Hourihane, Hemmings, MacDonald, Chadwick. Subs Walton, Tsoumou, Daley (not used Berry, Lecointe). Attendance - 2,186.
Nick Chadwick is in his second spell at Argyle and enjoying every minute, even if he and fellow returnee Paul Wotton are spearheading a drive against relegation from the Football League. "I've always loved it at the club," he said. "Wottsy is the same mentality as me, if you can't enjoy being a professional footballer, and living in this area of the country, what can you enjoy? I love being here, I love the area, and I love the football club. All is rosy in the garden. But if you're not winning matches all isn't rosy in the garden. It's amazing that you sometimes hear people say they don't care if you win or lose, it has a direct impact on your Saturday night, your Sunday, your Monday, your Tuesday. Let me tell you, if we don't win, it has a direct impact on the enjoyment of your whole life. If we win, I'm happy, the club's happy and Plymouth as a whole place is happy. That's a great feeling and something we're trying to achieve. If you look at the start to the season that the club had, it was absolutely horrific. You look at where we are now, we haven't had easy games of late, but we've performed well. We've got to be positive off the back of what we've done in recent months. It was easy, two or three months ago, for Plymouth Argyle to be the bottom club and be forgotten about and probably end up bottom. That's certainly not the case now. We've got ourselves third-bottom, we're fighting and scrapping for every point, but the time for talking about games is gone. we've got to go and start doing it." Chadwick believes that the changes brought about by Carl Fletcher's appointment as manager are slowly but surely turning things around to the point where survival will be assured. "The heart and desire in that dressing-room will see us through," he said. "People tell me there been a massive improvement in recent weeks and it feels like we've got a side with the mentality that we don't want to get beat. I think the club probably hasn't had that for the last couple of years and it's almost been accepted as the norm to not win football matches. For he likes of myself and Wottsy and Pursey, that's not the norm and it won't be accepted, especially at home. We want to win football matches. That's our mentality. Hopefully the young lads can look at us, say 'Yeah, they played at a higher level ' and look at the way we go about things and want to draw from that. We've got Walts and Willo, too, and some of the experienced lads who have been here as well, but they probably need a bit of help as well. It's not be easy for the lads who have been here, even the experienced ones, so us coming in and giving the players a lift has probably helped."
Paul Wotton will become only the sixth player in Argyle's history to make 400 league appearances for the club if he plays at Accrington tomorrow, and may well celebrate the mark as captain after resuming the role against Barnet on Tuesday night, when Simon Walton was on the bench. Both calls were not taken lightly by manager Carl Fletcher. He said: "From my point of view, it is hard to make decisions because you always want to make the right ones. We take everything into account, what we want from the game coming up, and the opposition we're playing, so we pick the team on that. I've said before, we've got a lot of good players here and it's going to be the squad that is going to help us to achieve anything. It's a long hard season in League 2, a lot of travelling, a lot of games. Training pretty much every day is physically tough, but I think sometimes mentally tough, as well. A lot of our players haven't played a full competitive season, so you have to make sure that everyone is as on the ball as you can." The changes helped gain a valuable point against Barnet, but that does not mean Fletcher will resist tinkering this weekend. He said: "On Tuesday, the team defended well, we looked pretty much solid throughout the 90 minutes and getting a clean sheet is always a positive, so we'll see on Saturday." Apart from Joe Lennox, who has a cold, Fletcher reported no further selection concerns, and added: "For us to stay in the division this season will be such a massive achievement for everyone in the club, the staff, the players and the fans, but we know if just concentrate and look after ourselves everything else will be taken care of. We've had three defeats in 12, three wins and six draws, so if we could turn a couple of those draws into wins, it would be a lot healthier for us. Things are going in the right direction. We just need a couple of wins to keep the confidence and belief going because the lads work really hard and it's nice for them to get their rewards."
Carl Fletcher has expressed his delight over Matt Lecointe's England under-18's call-up. He said: "I'm delighted for Matt, because of the situation the club has been in, maybe he's played more matches than perhaps he would have done ordinarily. He's come in during a difficult situation and he's acquitted himself really well. He trains with us every day and he doesn't look out of place at all, you'd hardly think he was 17." Fletcher said he wanted to hold on to the club's young players for as long as possible. He said: "The main thing for us is that we keep our younger players and we don't sell them for peanuts like we have done in the past. From my point of view, when you get a good player, and we've got a few here, do you sell them for tens of thousands of pounds or do you keep them here, they play 100 games for you and you sell them for a couple of million. It doesn't always work out like that, of course, and you have to take each case individually. But I think there is nothing better for the fans than to go in and see a home-grown player out on the pitch, giving their all for Plymouth. It's great for them and it's great for us, because we get a good player for free. Where we get players who come in and do well, if there's a good offer on the table, then we'd be stupid to turn it down, but I think it's a case of making sure the price is right and not just doing it for the sake of it."
Argyle are giving a trial to Dulwich Hamlet defender Sulaiman Bangura, according to the Ryman League side's website.
Carl Fletcher has warned his players of a new manager backlash from Accrington Stanley tomorrow. Paul Cook has just taken over Stanley after moving from Sligo Rovers and Fletcher said: "They have got a new manager and that's something we'll have to be aware of. He is taking charge on Saturday and they're going to be looking to looking to impress. We've got to be ready to match that." Fletcher declined to say whether changes would be made for tomorrow's game, but pointed out getting through the season was a squad effort and he swapped players about to ensure they stayed 'on the ball'. He said: "We've got a lot of good players and it's going to be the squad which helps us to achieve anything. It's a long season in League Two, with a lot of travelling and a lot of games, with training pretty much every day. It's physically tough and sometimes it's mentally tough as well. A lot of players this season haven't played a full competitive season, so we have to make sure we keep everyone on the ball. The team defended well against Barnet. They were looking solid throughout the 90 minutes and getting a clean sheet is always a positive. Fletcher is confident the team is being prepared as well as they can be for a game at a club only three points off the play-offs and is also content that his team has the ability to stay out of the relegation zone. He added: "Yeah, I'm confident we can stay out of it. We knew when we took over that it was going to be a really tough order, with the situation the club was in. A win would help, it would be a lot healthier for the club. We're going in the right direction and a couple of wins would keep the confidence and belief going. The lads work really hard every day and it's nice for them to get a reward for what they do. The lads are in good spirits and there's a real buzz around the changing rooms, which is something you don't always see. We try and win every game we play, but we know it's going to be tough on Saturday."
Alex MacDonald admits he should have scored against Barnet on Tuesday, but won't let missed chances prey on his mind if he gets an opportunity at Accrington Stanley tomorrow. He said: "I should have scored Tuesday night, but as every striker knows, you miss some and you score some. Hopefully, when the next chance comes along, I'll put it into the back of the net. I've got a lot of confidence in my ability, so when another chance comes along, it won't pop into my head if I'm through on goal again." MacDonald is on loan from Burnley, which is not far from Accrington. He said: "Burnley are playing on Friday night and hopefully the boss will come to our game and see how much I'm improving and going in the right way and make sure I'm closer to the first team. The whole point of coming down here was to play games, and hopefully I'll get another 90 minutes tomorrow." MacDonald said he was unsure what will happen after his loan deal expires on March 6th. He said: "Obviously, it's early days yet, it's only my third game on Saturday. But so far, so good the lads are good and the manager has been brilliant. I'm only on loan until March 6th and that's something I'll look at nearer the time. At the moment, I'm just looking at playing as much as I can and helping the club as much as I can." MacDonald, who played wide right for Argyle for part of the match against Barnet, said he was not averse to being used where he was needed. "I want to play up front," he admitted. "But if required, I can play on the right wing or the left wing, I played at right back at Burnley. I don't mind playing anywhere as long as I'm playing as well as I can. But I want to be a striker and scoring goals." MacDonald said he was receiving help from the team's experienced players such as Darren Purse, Paul Wotton and Nick Chadwick. He added: "We have got experience in abundance and that's got to be a good thing. It's going to help the young lads and we're going to help them out and everyone's helping me. It's a great team spirit and we are all working hard and striving for one thing, which is to keep this club in the Football League."
Carl Fletcher believes Argyle can build on an encouraging clean sheet against Barnet when they travel to Accrington Stanley on Saturday. "If you're going to get clean sheets, you need everyone pulling their weight," he said. "I was pleased for the defenders and Jake Cole in goal to help get a clean sheet for the team. You can build on clean sheets." Fletcher made two changes to his starting line-up against Barnet, omitting Simon Walton from the midfield for only the second time all season. "We freshened things up by bringing Conor Hourihane in for Simon," said Fletcher. "It's a long, hard season in England and, as I've said before, if we're going to get anything this season it's going to be a squad effort. We try to pick a team who are going to win the game. We knew it was going to be tough. Barnet had four wins in their last four games and have got some good players. The conditions weren't great. It was windy and cold and a bobbly pitch, so it was a real battle and I thought we applied ourselves really well and worked really hard. The work rate and effort was fantastic. That's only one defeat in four now and we move on to Accrington on Saturday." Argyle have only won one of their last eight league games though, and Fletcher added: "We did what we needed to defensively on Tuesday, but unfortunately we couldn't get a goal and go on to win three points. We stuck to our task in the second half, which was pleasing, when Barnet had three or four set pieces in a row. You need to do those things to get results in football, but again unfortunately it didn't fall for us at the other end." Argyle might have scored twice in the second half against Barnet. First, Alex MacDonald and then Ashley Hemmings were virtually clean through on goal, but the referee pulled play back for free-kicks against Barnet. "The referee should've played the advantage twice when we were through, so that's disappointing from our point of view," said Fletcher. "But you can sit and talk about referees until you're blue in the face. That's the way it is. We've scored lots of late goals this season, so fitness-wise we know we're there. We put a lot of balls into the box and had a fair amount of pressure in the conditions. On another day we could've nicked it 1-0, but it wasn't to be."
Paul Bignot admitted that while he and his colleagues are happy with last nights clean sheet, they are not satisfied with anything less than all three points. "We'll take the positives, and that's a clean sheet, but I'm not going to lie - we're disappointed going into the dressing room," he said. "At this point of the season we need to start picking up wins sooner rather than later. As I said, you have to take the positive. A clean sheet, and we can build on it. But we need wins. I thought we did put pressure on them, and we did create a couple of good chances. There were a couple of times where we got into good positions but the ref blew up for free kicks where he could have let it go, but that's just one of those things. We can't look to the ref, we have to look at ourselves, and grind these wins out. They had some real momentum at one point in the second half, about fifteen minutes where we had to dig deep and defended well. That's the minimum we can expect." Argyle's game at Macclesfield was postponed, meaning it had been ten days since the previous match. However, Bignot disagreed that the break affected the team. He said. "We just want to play. Bang the games out and try to get these wins under our belt. It being called off messes up your days a bit, but that's part of football and you just have to deal with it. We have to go into every game confident and positive. We need to believe we can get something from every game, and we need to getting points on the board. We need wins."
Argyle drew 0-0 with Barnet at Home Park. Argyle: Cole, Bignot, Purse, Blanchard, Bhasera, Young, Wotton, Hourihane, Hemmings, MacDonald, Chadwick. Subs Tsoumou (not used - Larrieu, Walton, Berry, Daley). Attendance - 5,879.
Carl Fletcher has praised the Argyle fans for helping to keep the players going. He said the supporters had helped spur the players on to get a critical point against Southend and hopes they can play their part tonight against Barnet. Fletcher said: "We're facing a tough game because Barnet are going to want to win it and we've got to be ready for it. They're having a fairly good run and we have to be fully prepared for them. The crowd is massive for us. I know it's a Tuesday night and it's probably going to be cold, but for us and the football club, the fans plays a massive part. Against Southend, they stuck behind us, got the players going and kept right behind us until the end of the match. It's more pleasing for us when things are going wrong that the fans have stuck behind us and they're just as important as anyone else at the club." Fletcher said he had talked with Jake Cole about Barnet. The Argyle 'keeper has fought two relegation battles with Barnet, before leaving the club when he was unable to come to an agreement over contract. Fletcher, who said Argyle had no added injury problems, said: "There's been a lot of changes since he was there."
Jake Cole insists he doesn't have a point to prove when he faces his old club Barnet tonight. "It doesn't matter who you are playing or who lines up in front of you, we're at Plymouth and we need results," he said. "I haven't got a point to prove, I wouldn't say I was released from Barnet. I was offered a contract which I refused and I was at the end of my option year anyway." Cole played his part in helping keep Barnet up over the last two seasons, and is hoping to do the same with Argyle. "I was on loan at Barnet for the 10 games in the first season and it was tough even doing that," he said. "They were just above the relegation zone, so it was hard even then. The first full season, I played 52 games out of 52 and it was a battle, it was hard and on the last game of the season, we managed to get the right result. I played nearly 100 games for them, I was player of the year there and the fans were brilliant to me." Cole admitted he is getting a bit fed up with relegation battles, but added: "It's a battle to stay up, but I am looking forward to staying up and getting out of the position we are in."
Jake Cole has said he appreciated, despite good results against two of the division's top teams, Southend and Crawley Town, that Argyle need some wins. He said: "No matter what team is in front of us, we've got to start picking results up. We want to get a few back-to-back results together. We've got Barnet tonight, then we've got Accrington Stanley away on Saturday. They're tough games, but every one of them will be." Cole also said the squad's anticipation of tonight's match had been heightened by the postponement of last weekend's game at Macclesfield. He added: "We're looking forward to this, we were disappointed when last week's game was called off and we were all raring to go."
Onismor Bhasera has been named in the Zimbabwe squad for the first leg of their 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifier with Burundi later this month. The match takes place on February 29th, meaning Bhasera will miss the games with Dagenham & Redbridge on February 25th and Macclesfield on February 29th.
Matt Lecointe has been called up for the England under-18's squad for the friendly with Poland at Crewe on March 7th.
Jake Cole spent more than two seasons at Barnet before moving to Home Park last summer but is revealing nothing about his former team, publicly at least. He said: "They have obviously got quite a few new players in, but I know some of their strengths and weaknesses from working with them. I wouldn't like to go into detail. That's for our manager to know and for us to work on." Cole believes Argyle have the ability to avoid relegation, as his former side did twice whilst he was there. "The team we have now is stronger than Barnet were when I was there," he said. "It would have been interesting if we had started the season with the team we have now, because we were really young at the start. The gaffer's come in and we've strengthened in areas and got a bit of experience in the team, some older heads, which we needed. Purse, Wotton, Chaddy, there's a few older ones with knowledge of the game, and, before games, a few older voices to get the young ones up. We're completely different."
Alex MacDonald could not have been more delighted with his debut against Southend United last weekend, despite not being in the starting line-up. He said: "It was disappointing not to start, but sometimes you have to come off the bench and show people what you are capable of. I thought I came off the bench and did well. I got a goal, I was pleased with that. It felt so sweet, it's one of those strikers' goals. Everyone dreams of getting goals like that. It was good to just get an easy tap-in." Since his arrival on transfer deadline-day, MacDonald has been impressed with the team at Home Park. "Everyone has said it, there's team spirit and togetherness," he said. "All the boys are striving for one thing, and that's to keep the team in the League. If we start the game better, we can go on and win that game. That's something we are looking at improving on and take into games."
Argyle's game at Macclesfield Town tomorrow has been postponed because of a frozen pitch and will now be played on Tuesday, February 28th.
Carl Fletcher is hoping Argyle can complete the double over Macclesfield Town tomorrow, the team that he started his managerial career against. He said: "It would be nice as we beat them in the first game. But any away game in this league is going to be tough, as we know what a good job the manager does up there. We're going to be ready for it and looking forward to the match. They have had it hard and been hit with a lot of injuries, which means a number of their first-team have been out. But for us going into the game, we just look at it from our point of view and that we need to get a result. That's what we're going there to do and working hard to make sure we do the right things." Fletcher said that training had been hampered by the cold weather and he admitted it had been 'testing at times', but that they had adapted their training programme in order to let the surface thaw. Fletcher also said the fitness in the squad was pleasing and borne out by their two goals in the last five minutes against Southend. He added: "I was pleased with how we did against Southend as we have done a few times this season. Again with the goals coming past the 80th minute it shows the lads' fitness levels are right where they should be. We need to take that second-half performance into this game."
Curtis Nelson's comeback from injury in a midweek reserve friendly at Cardiff City has given Carl Fletcher a boost ahead of the trip to Macclesfield Town. He said: "Nelson has been out a little while and it was a good game for us up at Cardiff. It's good to see him back." The injury had taken longer than anticipated, but it was decided to err on the side of caution and not rush him back too early. Fletcher said: "The injury affected his knee and down the outside of his leg. It wasn't just a case of getting it sorted and patching over. It was decided we'd take a little time and get everything cleared up properly. There are things inside the knee you have to be careful with and we made sure there wasn't long-term damage. It might have been longer than we really wanted but sometimes you have to take those couple of extra weeks to make sure everything's 100 per cent." Fletcher, though, refused to confirm that Nelson will be on the bench tomorrow. He added: "We'll see, but we've got lots of good players here and everyone is fighting for a place, which is good." Two players looking to break into the first team are Robbie Williams and Luke Daley and Fletcher insisted the pair were still in his thoughts, but said: "You can only play 11 and only put five on the bench. In my squad every player is as important the next one and treated the same. You've got to treat players with respect. The way the games are these days with injuries and suspensions, you're going to need every player in the squad. We have to look after the ones who right now aren't playing, but you know how quickly things can change in football. One moment you're not playing and then the next week you could be in. It is going to be the whole squad which will help us achieve stuff."
John Deehan has been 'delighted' by the response of the manager and staff since joining Argyle as director of football. Deehan added that he had been impressed and touched by the welcome he has received at Home Park, and said: "I think there is a very good team in there. There is a great deal of experience in the side, with Darren Purse, Nick Chadwick and Paul Wotton, that a lot of clubs in this division won't have." Deehan insisted his job is to coach and help the manager, but it is Carl Fletcher's responsibility to select the team. "My remit is not to pick the team, that is Carl's job'," he said. "I've been invited to come here to advise and try and help secure players. Carl and his coaching staff have been extremely open to me giving my opinion and allowing me to watch training. But there's no way I would overburden the staff by saying 'you know what, I think you ought to do this or do that' that's not why I'm here." Deehan insisted no one was under any illusion that Argyle's plight was anything other than precarious. "My role is basically to help Carl, Ro and Kevin as much as I can, suggest things in training and at half-time," he said. "Also, because they are new to this role that when they get to situations which they probably have not come across before I can offer my years of experience. I'm quite sure there will be issues Carl might have to deal with and the board of directors might have to consider, too. I've been trying to support Carl as much as I can and I respect the honesty of the owner, who has told me he's not an expert on football. I can also try and help him and to ease the burden that is on the club at the moment, so they can move forward and not make a mistake along the way."
Paul Wotton believes the desire to pull Argyle away from the relegation zone remains as strong as ever, ahead of a crucial three matches in seven days. He said: "The spirit in the dressing room is top quality and not like a team fearing relegation. I've been there with Southampton when you could sense the lack of confidence and smell the defeatism as soon as you entered the dressing room. Sure, we've still got a long way to go to make sure we're safe, but I can honestly say these players are united in one common aim, and that's to win football matches. The fact we were all disappointed at not winning against Crawley and last Saturday to Southend just shows the sense of self-belief that's there. In no way do the players resemble a team still in the relegation zone. There are still a lot of league points to play for and matches to win, and that's what we're focused on. I know it's a clichι, but it's definitely one match at a time and we're not looking past Macclesfield on Saturday." Argyle face Macclesfield on Saturday, a team who have not won so far this year and are presently on a five-match losing run, but Wotton draws no comfort from those facts. "It means nothing to me or the lads what another team has or hasn't done, it's all about us on the day," he said. "If we play like we did in the second half against Southend, I'm confident we'll do all right, but it's up to us. Like I said, these lads believe they can win every match they play in."
Argyle will ban any fans found guilty of using racist language. The message comes in the wake of Saturday's anti-gypsy chanting during the home game with Southend United, after which a 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of racially-aggravated harassment. A club statement released yesterday said: We are grateful to supporters who have raised concerns about racist language heard at our recent game against Southend United and we can confirm that one person was arrested for alleged racial abuse. An immediate enquiry was launched by club officials on learning of the impending arrest at half-time of the game. This arrest confirms a very simple unequivocal message embraced by everyone at Plymouth Argyle and connected with the Club - racism has no place in football; no place at Home Park; no place in Plymouth. We operate a very clear policy of zero tolerance towards any form of unacceptable discrimination whether it be based upon race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. Any form of discrimination has never been, and never will be, tolerated at Home Park. We are proud to be a family club, where people of all abilities, ages, beliefs, genders, races, religions and sexual orientation can unite to enjoy 'the beautiful game'. As a club, we have always embraced players and supporters of many nationalities and creeds; this is our heritage and our legacy. Prejudice and hatred simply do not mix with supporting our team. We remind all supporters that racist, sexist and homophobic chanting are criminal offences which will result in the perpetrators being banned from Home Park. We will continue to act against any supporters who commit such offences. We have excluded people for racist behaviour previously and will have no hesitation in taking this action again. We urge supporters who see any signs of any form of anti-social behaviour to inform us immediately. Any form of discrimination will be dealt with in the strongest possible terms. That is our very clear message.
Argyle are investigating allegations of anti-gypsy chanting by fans aimed at a Southend United player during last Saturday's match. The club said they had already received reports from fans at the game and a spokesman said: "We have received a number of complaints relating to crowd behaviour during Saturday's game. We are currently conducting a thorough investigation into these complaints." Argyle say they will issue a full statement once the investigation has concluded. Argyle Fans' Trust said it has also been made aware of the allegations. The Trust said it was 'aware of a small number of incidents this season involving unacceptable and often aggressive chanting or comments.' It added it recognised the chanting 'includes comments many would understand to be racist or homophobic in tone.' In a statement, the Trust said: "On Saturday an incident involving abuse coming from a supporter towards the Barn Park end of the Lyndhurst stand was reported to the police by a Trust member. Our message to any so-called fans who cannot put aside their own bigotry for 90 minutes is simple: You are not welcome at Home Park. The Fans' Trust will be approaching the club to ensure that a robust system is in place for reporting such behaviour, but in the meantime we would urge any other fans who witness it to report it, in confidence, to the club or the Trust." Argyle president Chris Webb revealed that there were two incidents at the game, and said the first, a religiously motivated insult at a player, resulted in an individual being ejected from the grounds. The other, was the alleged mass anti-gypsy chanting which is understood to have been aimed at Southend defender Bilel Mohsni.
Nick Chadwick had special reason to savour Argyle's late comeback to draw 2-2 against Southend United on Saturday, the presence of Paul Sturrock in the visitors dug-out. It was Sturrock who ended Chadwick's first spell at Home Park when he released him after the 2007/08 season and he was thrilled to get one of the two late goals which earned Argyle a point. Chadwick said: "It's not nice to be let go by managers. I have no qualms about it. If I had been him at that time, I would have done the same thing. But it's nice when you score against them, full stop." Alex MacDonald got the equaliser for Argyle, and also linked up with Chadwick for his goal. Chadwick said: "I think it was a long ball forward and I flicked it on. Credit to Macca, he held it up brilliantly. It was on the edge of the box and he held the defender off and set it back lovely. I just needed to strike it as clean as possible and get it on target. That's what I managed to do. I had been out for a few games with injury so it's nice to come back and get another goal." Chadwick's shot completely deceived the Southend keeper, who got one hand to the ball but only deflected it into the corner of the net. Chadwick added: "It swerved but, with these new balls, if you hit them well they do take off. He got a hand to it, but not enough. For a split second, I thought he might have saved it but, thankfully, it went in." Even when Argyle trailed 2-0 to Southend, Chadwick was convinced they could avoid defeat. He said: "Any time when you are at home, and you have got a crowd like we have got, if you get that first goal there is always a chance you are going to get another one. I have seen it happen time and time again here. I could have scored earlier on, which would have really set the game alight, but it was a bit of a weak header. But when I got the goal, I just wanted to get back to the halfway line and go again. We really had that momentum behind us, and we have taken a point from absolutely nowhere."
Nick Chadwick's first goal of the year was a crucial one, and came as a relief to him after a frustrating injury. Chadwick is confident that should he stay injury free, he can play a huge role in keeping the club in League Two. "I felt on top of my game, then pulled a hamstring which I've never, ever done before," he said. "I tried to come back and then did it again in training. Even last Saturday, anyone who was at the game last week knew that I'd only trained for two days and been out for four weeks. It was very much a case of feeling my way back into it last week and making sure I got through the game. I was happy with the hour I played last week, but this week was much more like it, with another week's training behind us. I was lucky that I only nicked it. I didn't think I was quick enough to nick my hamstring! It was only a low-grade thing, but I was so desperate to keep that momentum going, to keep getting goals and keep helping the club. It was just unfortunate. But I'm happy now I'm back part of things. Nothing more frustrating than just sitting and watching, knowing you can make a difference. Now it's fine. Credit to Paul Atkinson, he's really helped me and done all he could. It's all about playing games now, to keep going until the end of the season. Get a few more goals and some more points and hopefully all will be well."
Argyle were totally off the pace in the first half against Southend on Saturday, but almost immediately after half-time were a totally different proposition. Carl Fletcher said: "We ironed out a few things and said a few bits and bobs. But you can talk until you are blue in the face, it's down to the players once they step over the white line to do what they need to do. They did that in the second half, and the never-say-die attitude we have in that changing room at the minute is a rare thing. In my years as a player, I have probably seen it maybe once or twice. If you can channel that in the right way and keep hold of it, it's a real bonus for your football club." Southend went ahead when an attempted clearance from Jake Cole was blocked by Michael Timlin. The ball ricocheted off the midfielder and bounced into the empty net. Fletcher said: "It was obviously disappointing. You work all week on certain things you want to do and it suddenly changes straight away. That's football, and things happen like that, so you have to deal with it. As the game goes on, it's up and down. At the end of it, the lads' character and their desire to do well for themselves and the club was a real credit to them." Argyle cut the deficit to 2-1 with a swerving shot from Nick Chadwick, and Fletcher said: "It was good for him to get those minutes under his belt last week. You could see he went out there and worked his socks off, as did everyone else. It was a bonus for us." Chadwick was also involved in the equaliser and the part that he played in the goal did not go un-noticed by Fletcher. He said: "Before he got injured, he was scoring and setting up chances, and he has come back and done that, which is pleasing. It's nice to have him fully fit. The way we played in the second half, we wanted to be more on the front foot. The lads' desire to get balls in the box was always going to create, and someone has got to be there to put them away. I'm just glad Chaddy got one, and Macca got a nice easy one." Substitute and goalscorer Alex MacDonald was one of two debutants for Argyle, with Juvhel Tsoumou starting the game. Fletcher said: "They have been here since Thursday and the lads have made them feel welcome. They have fitted right in. The pleasing thing for us is you can see they want to do well for themselves and for the team. They are both different types of players, which is what we wanted. We didn't want to just bring in people who were the same as what we had got. I was pleased for Juvhel to get his first start and for Alex to come on and get the equaliser. It was a nice five-yard tap-in with no-one around him. I'm sure he will take a few more of them."
Argyle scored a crucial late goal for the third home fixture in succession to earn a point against Southend United yesterday. Nick Chadwick, who scored the first of two goals in the last five minutes, said: "When you're 2-0 down at home to a side that's one of the top four in the division, especially a team with their management and everything else, we thought it was going to be difficult. We said at half time that if we got a goal back it would be massive. It just goes to prove that when you get that goal back, you get the momentum behind us and the crowd behind us, we'll take a 2-2. Anytime when you're at home and you've got a crowd like we've got here, you get that goal, with the momentum behind you, there's always that chance that you're going to get another one. At lot of people would take a draw today, but at home I'm always of the mentality that we should go and win. Especially in this division. We need to go and win games, whoever it is. Some top sides have come here in recent weeks and they haven't gone home with three points. OK, neither have we, but it just means it's still all to play for. At half time the manager said his piece. He said that we needed to play five yards further up the pitch, we'd probably dropped a little bit too deep from their long balls. It was good that they noticed that and rectified it at half time. It made all the difference. We played that little bit higher up the pitch, it allowed us to gain that momentum and impetus." Chadwick's goal came on 86 minutes, and gave Argyle a chance in a game which had previously looked beyond them. He said: "I could have scored earlier on which really would have set the game alight, but it was a bit of a weak header. I knew that when I did get a goal, I just wanted to get back to the halfway line and let's go again. We really had that momentum behind us. We took a point from absolutely nowhere, really. I think I flicked it on. Credit to Macca, he held it up brilliant, got his body in, and all I was asking him to do it is set it up on the edge of the box. He held the defender off and set it back lovely. I just needed to strike it as clean as possible and get it on target. That's what I managed to do. It was a nice feeling. I've missed a few games. It was nice to come back and get another goal." Chadwick also had a hand in the equaliser. After a corner was half cleared, Joe Lennox prodded the ball to him and his shot struck a post, with Alex MacDonald on hand to poke home the rebound. "It was a corner," added Chadwick. "It's fallen to Joe, and all I'm thinking at the time is 'Joe, shoot! Joe, shoot!' but then he passed it me! It was like 'What am I going to do?!' I've just tried to hit it on the turn. It wasn't the cleanest of strikes, but when I hit it I thought it was in. Lo and behold, it's come back off the post so a little bit disappointed, but as soon as it's fallen to Macca he's done what good strikers do. He was right there to roll it in. All credit to him, it's his first league goal and I'm delighted for him. I thought the young lads, they've only come in on Thursday, it's a long way to come and it's asking a lot of them, but all credit to them. I thought Juvhel worked hard first half and the first 15 minutes of the second half, and I thought Macca was excellent when he came on. He really made a difference, and it was nice for him to get a goal.
No one did more to earn Argyle a point yesterday than Ashley Hemmings. Carl Fletcher said: "With Ash, teams are recognising what a danger man he is, so they are making a point of making sure their right-back is fully on his toes. Ash is disappointed if he doesn't beat his man every time he gets the ball, but he doesn't have to, he only needs to beat him once which might be the telling part of the game. He's the type of player we want, someone who is going to get the ball and beat players. If he's doing the right things, and the positive things, we don't care if loses the ball. We just want him to express himself." Fletcher also praised the Argyle fans for the part they played in the result. He said: "The fans were great today, especially in the first half when things weren't going the way we wanted them to go. They kept behind the team non-stop, which was pleasing. I'm pleased with the lads' character, the way they got the result at the end, and the fans were as bigger part of that as the players were."
Carl Fletcher paid compliment to Argyle groundsman Dave Radmore and his staff after the 2-2 draw with Southend United. Radmore and his team worked all week on the pitch to beat the weather and get the game on. "They did really well," said Fletcher. "They were here all night. Credit to them, because they got the game on, it was down to their hard work and effort that the game was played. It was a great effort from everyone who worked so hard to get the game on."
Argyle drew 2-2 with Southend at Home Park, the goals scored by Nick Chadwick after 86 minutes and Alex MacDonald (88). Argyle: Cole, Bignot, Purse, Blanchard, Bhasera, Young, Wotton, Walton, Hemmings, Tsoumou, Chadwick. Subs Hourihane, Lennox, MacDonald, (not used - Larrieu, Berry). Attendance - 6,328.
Carl Fletcher has spoken about the 'refreshing' attitude of loan signing Alex MacDonald. He said: "I think Alex's favourite position would be striker, but Eddie Howe says he's one of those who can literally play anywhere. Ed has even played him at right-back, although I don't think he was too keen about it. He just wants to play football, and whatever he has to do to play football he will do it. It's refreshing. In my experiences over the years, I have seen a lot of young lads come through and it's almost too much hard work for them to go out there and try to get a career. It's nice and refreshing to see you have got a young lad who will do whatever it takes to play football." MacDonald was one of two on-loan strikers snapped up by Fletcher before the transfer window closed, the other being Juvhel Tsoumou. Fletcher said: "I think where we are with our strikers at the minute, there is a something a little bit different in each of them. Juvhel can do a lot of stuff. He's very strong, he can hold the ball up and, hopefully, he can create things for us. Preston have brought players in and it's a fairly big squad. You have to look at clubs where new managers go in because, obviously, they have their own ideas and there might be players who are surplus to requirements. In Juvhel's case, he's not in their plans right now but they want to keep his career progressing in the right way. If that helps us out then it's a bonus for both clubs."
Alex MacDonald has come to Home Park on a month's loan from Burnley and could not be keener to show what he can do on the pitch. He is aware of the position that the club are in at the foot of League 2 but is looking forward to being able to play his part in lifting Argyle out of trouble. "It's not ideal," he said, "but it's something that everyone at the club, the players and the manager, have spoken about and we want to change that. Hopefully, I can play a helping hand in changing that and make sure that this club stays in the Football League, where it belongs." MacDonald is glad that he caught Carl Fletcher's eye and is ambitious to succeed. He said "It's good to see that people are interested in me. Obviously I want to play at Burnley and that's the main goal. Hopefully, coming down and here and putting in a few good performances will open the manager's eyes up there and that can push me on. If that doesn't happen when I am playing down here, if I am playing, if selected, it puts me in the shop window for other things. Ultimately, I want to stay at Burnley and, hopefully, that's where my long-term future is." MacDonald comes to Argyle with games under his belt and raring to go. He added: "I have played wide through pre-season and upfront and played a few games at right-back recently but see myself as an out and out striker. I like to think that I get on the ball and I like to chase down defenders. I've got a little bit of quality on the ball as well and, hopefully, I can bring as much as I can and get some goals."
Alex MacDonald is determined to repay the confidence shown in him by Carl Fletcher and wants to play a part in helping Argyle retain their Football League status. Fletcher was alerted to the potential, and availability, of MacDonald by Burnley boss Eddie Howe. MacDonald said: "They are good friends and speak a lot. I think there was some interest from up north, including Rochdale, but Carl showed the eagerness to get me down here. Whenever someone wants you to play for them, it's a pleasure to help those people. For me, it's just about going out and playing games, and it's a challenge coming here. There is certainly a job to do here, and I want to play a part in keeping this club in the Football League." MacDonald is under no illusions about the size of the task facing Argyle, but he is not perturbed by it. "You put pressure on yourself, as a player, to do as well as you can," he said. "But the pressure doesn't get any bigger than this, because this is a massive club. It's something that will stand me in good stead for the future and, like I say, hopefully I can play a part in keeping this club in the league." MacDonald was signed on Tuesday, along with Juvhel Tsoumou. The two strikers were on opposing teams when Burnley and Preston faced each other in a reserve team match earlier this season. "I played against him not so long ago," said MacDonald. "He's a big guy and a real handful." MacDonald travelled to Plymouth on Wednesday and trained with the club for the first time yesterday. His first impressions of the club were all positive and he added: "The boys were brilliant to me on my first day. You can tell there are some good players here. The gaffer seems to be right guy to take this club forward. He's young and hungry, and he wants to make his way in management. It's similar to me. I'm a young player trying to make my way in the game." MacDonald can play in a wide attacking role, either on the left or right, but prefers playing in a central position. He said: "Striker is definitely my favourite position. It's something I want to do, and I think the gaffer sees me playing there. But, if needed, I can go left or right, or wherever."
Argyle will be without Warren Feeney for up to four weeks due to a calf injury he suffered in training before the defeat at Port Vale last Saturday. Although Feeney has only scored three times this season, his experience has been an asset. Carl Fletcher said: "Off the field, as well, he brings a lot to the changing room, and that's what we want. We want people, whether they are starting, a sub or not involved, who want the club to do well. It is a blow for Feeno because he wants to do well for us." The visit of Southend tomorrow sees Fletcher come up against Paul Sturrock, the manager who brought him to Argyle. Fletcher said: "After two defeats on the spin, and a heavy one at home, they will be wanting to set that straight. Paul Sturrock is going to want to do well because it's against his old club, and he's going to have them fired up, and make sure they put things right that maybe haven't gone so well for them in the last couple of games. But you only have to look at how well they have done this season, and where they are in the table, to see they are a good side. We will have to be 100 per cent to get anything out of the game." Sturrock is in his second season as Southend manager and Fletcher has not been surprised by the success he has had at Roots Hall. Fletcher said: "I think when Paul first went to Southend there were a lot of financial issues, but the enthusiasm he has got has come through and they are getting the rewards."
Paul Bignot has admitted it was an easy decision to extend his loan at Argyle until the end of the season. He said: "The three months here have gone very quick, which is always a good sign. I'm playing games and you can't beat that. I'm enjoying being down here and enjoying being a part of it. I had to speak to Blackpool as well and work out what the best situation was for everyone involved, and me playing games is the best situation. While I'm here I'm fully focused on Plymouth and doing what's right for them. My job is to play for Plymouth and I just want to get results here. That's the priority." Bignot made his debut in the draw with Morecambe on November 5th, since when Carl Fletcher has made a series of signings. Bignot said: "If you look at the team from my first game to the last one, there have been a lot of changes. Even though we did do well in that first game, I would say the team is a lot more solid now, and harder to break down. We are, slowly but surely, making progress. It is important to have that blend of experience and youth. We have added that bit of know-how and it helps everyone." Argyle have won three and drawn four of their last 10 league games and Bignot added: "If you look at our results, say in the last 10, they haven't been that bad. The only thing we are missing, which would help us massively, is to get two back-to-back wins. But, we are just going to take each game as it comes."
Juvhel Tsoumou could not be happier as he settles into life at Home Park. He said: "I want to show the team that I deserve to wear the number nine for Plymouth Argyle. Plymouth were a good team, they have a good history and I saw them before as well. For me I am happy to be here. I am happy to help them and I hope I can help them to get more near the top. It's just a little bit upsetting to see a team this big play in League Two. This is a team that deserves to be like in the top leagues. I just want to make sure they get out of there. I am going to work hard and make sure we score goals than before." Having played 22 times for Preston this season, Tsoumou is fit and ready to go. He added: "I'm fit, I've been running all the time, and just can't wait to play on Saturday. I want to make more challenges and make it harder for the defender. I'm more in the box, when I get time I like to hold the ball and make headers and shoot from far away because I have got a good shot and I like to go 1 on 1 with the defender. The lads are alright, I am happy as well to work with them because they are relaxed and easy and they help me as well so I feel very welcome here."
Increasing commercial and retail income is one of the key objectives for Argyle's acting chief executive Martin Baker. He said: "Basically, the idea is for me to look at various commercial aspects of the business and assess what, if anything, is required at that level. In practical terms, I think the chief executive role of the business can largely be split into two. There is the playing side of things, which is dealt with by Jason Turner, and the traditional management of the business. The business, in essence, is very simple. Most of the income is generated as a result of what happens on 23 matchdays throughout the year. Other than that, we are doing our best to improve the commercial and retail income of the business." Baker described the financial health of Argyle as 'stable' but it is clearly still a challenging time for the club. He added: "Commercial income has been difficult, and it started right at the beginning of the season. People were unwilling to buy season tickets because they weren't sure what future the club had, and they weren't sure whether it would still be in business. I also think people have been loath to book commercial activities, such as birthday parties and anniversaries at Home Park, for the very same reason. We have had to restart those things, pretty much from a standstill." In addition to his role for Argyle, Baker is also finance director of James Brent's Saltrock company. "I spend about 60 per cent of my time here at Home Park, so about 50 hours a week probably," he said. "It has been enjoyable, particularly when you get three points." Baker's association with Brent first started last March, when he was appointed as finance director of Saltrock, which soon led to him becoming involved with Argyle. He said: "When James was originally looking at Plymouth Argyle he felt the role of finance director could be combined with that at Saltrock. I think the same principle applies to finance in football clubs as any other business. If a company spends more than it earns, at some stage down the line there will be misery."
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